What is a direct quote of George and Lennie discussing their dream farm in Of Mice and Men?

In Of Mice and Men, the dream farm is a repeated theme throughout the novella and represents the American Dream. A quote about it is, "Maybe we'd have a cow or a goat, and the cream is so God damn thick you got to cut it with a knife and take it out with a spoon."

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Throughout the novel, George and Lennie constantly refer to their dream farm, particularly at Lennie's insistence. This farm is presented as a secular heaven—a place of abundance and community in a setting where want and loneliness are commonplace. The term "live offa the fat of the lan" is repeated whenever this dream farm is brought up, suggesting independence from the scarcity of the civilized world during the Great Depression.

Here is a direct quote from one of the times the dream farm is mentioned:

George’s hands stopped working with the cards. His voice was growing warmer.

“An’ we could have a few pigs. I could build a smoke house like the one gran’pa had, an’ when we kill a pig we can smoke the bacon and the hams, and make sausage an’ all like that. An’ when the salmon run up river we could catch a hundred of ‘em an’ salt ‘em down or smoke ‘em. We could have them for breakfast. They ain’t nothing so nice as smoked salmon. When the fruit come in we could can it—and tomatoes, they’re easy to can. Ever’ Sunday we’d kill a chicken or a rabbit. Maybe we’d have a cow or a goat, and the cream is so God damned thick you got to cut it with a knife and take it out with a spoon."

Notice the use of imagery within the text here. George is evoking food in particular. He lists all that he and Lennie will have to eat on this farm: bacon, smoked salmon, fruits, and vegetables. These involve sight, smell, and taste, and might make the reader crave bacon, tomatoes, and cream as much as the characters in the story.

Ultimately, the farm is a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow, one where the two men will no longer have to wander to find work. George is skeptical that he and Lennie will ever own such a place, but he allows Lennie to dream about it because it gives him hope to go on despite how hard their lives are as traveling workers.

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The dream of the farm is a leitmotif, or repeated theme that threads throughout the novella. It is a place Lennie likes to go in his imagination, especially when he is feeling unhappy or anxious. However, he depends on George to provide the words for him.

In the quote below, the two men have recently arrived at the ranch. George is playing cards with the other men in the bunkhouse when Lennie brings up the dream farm. The quote below is powerful because George, in this instance, adds so much detail about the farm, describing it as a pastoral paradise:

"Well, it's ten acres," said George. "Got a little win'mill. Got a little shack on it, an' a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries, apples, peaches, 'cots, nuts, got a few berries. They's a place for alfalfa and plenty water to flood it. They's a pig pen-' ... "An' we could have a few pigs. I could build a smoke house like the one gran'pa had, an' when we kill a pig we can smoke the bacon and the hams, and make sausage an' all like that. An' when the salmon run up river we could catch a hundred of 'em an' salt 'em down or smoke 'em. We could have them for breakfast. They ain't nothing so nice as smoked salmon. When the fruit come in we could can it-and tomatoes, they're easy to can. Ever' Sunday we'd kill a chicken or a rabbit. Maybe we'd have a cow or a goat, and the cream is so God damn thick you got to cut it with a knife and take it out with a spoon."

The dream farm is a contrast to the life on the ranch, and George speaks directly in it to his own anxieties. The ranch makes him uneasy because he has already had a run-in with Curley, so he, like Lennie, is glad to retreat to the dream farm as a safe and idyllic spot.

George's imagination runs away with him as he describes the cornucopia of food the farm would offer, from salmon to fruit to nuts to ham and chickens. Notably, George describes it as a place that is the opposite to the ranch—a place where he'd have control over earning money, and where he and Lennie would "belong." This is a contrast to the uneasy feelings of not belonging that real life on the ranch brings up in him.

The dream farm represents the American dream, and most of the characters in the story respond to it warmly. It represents the autonomy, dignity, community, and prosperity that all the men yearn for.

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In the first chapter Lennie and George recite their dreams.

After they step off the bus a short distance from Soledad, the two men walk into the clearing and make camp. Lennie reminds George that they are going to work on a ranch, George replies, "Awright....But we're gonna sleep here because I got a reason." When Lennie asks for ketchup for their beans, George becomes upset, but Lennie is hurt.  So, George comforts him, and reassures him that he wants Lennie to stay with him.

Then, Lennie pleads, "Come on George. Tell me. Please George...." George recites as his voice grows deeper with feeling. He mentions how the other displace men of the Depression are lonely and without family, but he and Lennie have someone to talk to and someone who cares about them.

"We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us....
Someday--we're gonna get the jack together and we're gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an' a cow and some pigs and--
"An' live off the fatta the lan'," Lennie shouted. "An' have rabbits....
"...we'll have a big vegetable patch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when it rains in the winter,...we'll build up a fire in the stove and set around it' an' listen to the rain comin' down on the roof.

Lennie especially is greatly comforted by this "dream" of ownership and companionship. George does not really believe that they will attain it; nevertheless, he finds it comforting to recite what they might do, and, after a while, George begins to start believing that a little farm may just be a possibility, especially after Candy, the old swamper, asks to join in their plans.

 

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